Iced Latte vs Iced Coffee: What is the Difference?

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Iced latte vs iced coffee: two popular cold coffee drinks that we all love to sip on, particularly in the summertime when we can’t fathom drinking our usual hot coffee favorites. But both of these iced drinks are made with coffee and milk and served over ice, so why is there a distinction at all? Are they really two different drinks?

Whether you’re making these drinks at home or you’re wanting to learn more about how to order coffee at a café, there are some differences between these two drinks, despite their similarities. But let’s be honest here, the differences are quite subtle and when you’re making them at home, they really are pretty much the same drink.

» You might be interested in Can You Freeze Half-and-Half? and How to Froth Almond Milk.

iced latte vs iced coffee

What Are the Differences?

Both are cold, caffeinated beverages, but there are some distinctions between the two. For one, iced coffee is typically made with regular brewed coffee poured over ice with or without milk added, while an iced latte is more typically made with espresso poured over ice with the addition of frothed milk.

What this means is that an iced coffee might just be your favorite coffee chilled on ice with a splash of milk, while an iced latte is much more milky and maybe a bit stronger.

An iced coffee is less caffeinated and less strong, while an iced latte might be more potent, sometimes more bitter, depending on the espresso, but also smoother and creamier.

Let’s break it down. Is it really a thing? Iced Latte vs Iced coffee.

What is Iced Coffee?

Iced coffee

Iced coffee is a simple drink to make. You just need to brew some coffee, pour it into a glass over ice, and add milk or cream and sweetener, if you want. Iced coffee is typically less expensive than iced latte when you buy it at a coffee shop because it requires less time and labor to make.

Baristas would usually use a drip coffee with their house blend coffee. If you’re looking for a quick and cheap caffeine fix, iced coffee is the way to go. But if you’re in the mood for something a bit more decadent, you might step it up to an iced latte.

What is an Iced Latte?

iced pumpkin spice latte

Iced lattes are typically made with espresso-style coffee (meaning a darker roast) and have a higher ratio of coffee to milk than iced coffees.

To make an iced latte, a barista will brew espresso, chill it over ice, then pour the milk and sweetener into a shaker to froth it before pouring it over the coffee. This leads to a silky coffee drink that has a more robust coffee flavor, but is smoother thanks to the frothy milk.

How to Make an Iced Coffee or Latte

When it comes to making an iced coffee or latte at home, you likely will end up making them in almost the exact same way. If you have an espresso machine at home, you can utilize that to make your latte. Otherwise, follow the guide below.

1. Brew your coffee.

You can use any type of coffee beans you like, but we recommend using a dark roast for the best flavor. If you’re using a regular coffee maker, brew a pot of coffee and let it cool before proceeding. If you’re using an espresso machine, make two shots of espresso.

2. Pour Over Ice

Wait until the coffee has cooled. Pour the coffee into a glass or mug over ice. You’ll need a lot of ice if the coffee is still warm. It will melt quickly.

3. Add Milk and Sweetener

Finally, add milk. We recommend using whole milk for the creamiest texture, but you can use any type of milk you like. Pour the milk directly over for an iced coffee. In a latte, you would combine the milk and sweetener in a jar and shake it to froth it first, then pour it over.


And that’s it! Iced lattes are easy to make and can be customized to your liking. Give this recipe a try and let us know how it turns out in the comments below.

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Iced Latte vs Iced Coffee

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